The followings are what Bangkokians think about the pro-Thaksin demonstrations
Paisan Morkcharoonpong, company worker
“Enough of the rally. The Thai economy is still in trouble. The government has to solve this problem in any way possible because it’s their main duty.”
Alisara Panyasai, university student
“The protesters made noise last Saturday by honking horns to induce Bangkokians to join them. I hope talks between the government and the red shirts can find an answer. Everybody should think for the country. Don’t think about personal interests.”
Thailand is among the region’s more open economies, with exports accounting for around 65% of gross domestic product (GDP)
The Government adopted expansionary fscal and monetary policies to temper the contraction. Private consumption fell by 2.4% year on year in the frst half of 2009, the result of a weakening labor market, a fall in export prices of agricultural commodities that hurt rural incomes, and feeble consumer confdence, particularly during times of political turmoil. Antigovernment street protests in April, which followed an extended period of rising political tensions, led to a temporary state of emergency in the capital, Bangkok. In contrast to the fall in private consumption, government consumption rose by 4.8% in the frst half of 2009 as the Government quickened the pace of its budget disbursement and raised wages for its employees, and rolled out its first fiscal stimulus package from March.
After a decade of re capitalizing and restructuring, Thailand’s banks once again face a fast deteriorating outlook
Though sovereign rating agency Fitch says Thai financial institutions are much better positioned and provisioned to deal with the current global slowdown than they were during the Asian financial crisis. In particular, local banks were only marginally exposed to the toxic sub-prime mortgage derivative products that have driven several once prestigious Western banks into insolvency. While several US and European banks collapsed, Thai banks in 2008 recorded a higher average return on assets (ROA) compared to a year earlier, rising from 0.3% to 1.1%.
Direct cash was pumped into the grass roots economy, including cash 2,000 baht handouts to nine million civil servants and workers nationwide
The vast bulk of foreign investment had gone to Bangkok and its surrounding region, the central plain of the Chao Phraya River delta, starving the tropical forests of the mountainous North, the rolling savannah of the Northeast and the densely forested Malay peninsula. While land ownership has been concentrated in the hands of the upper and middle classes, this has not been in traditional forms of landlordism. Historically, most Thai peasants were independent smallholders until the 1960s. The onset of state-promoted capitalist development led to the large-scale commodification of rural land, which ceased to be a cheap and plentiful source of production in the traditional peasant economy and turned into an increasingly expensive object of speculation in the market economy.
The same protest group occupied Government House for nearly three months beginning last August, effectively crippling the workings of two different Thaksin-affiliated governments. A modicum of stability has returned with the formation of Abhisit’s coalition government, which is believed to have military backing and has prioritized restoring foreign confidence.
Investor confidence has not yet fully recovered from the military appointed administration’s surprise move in December 2006 to impose and then retract capital controls on foreign equity, bond and currency transactions. A nationalistic motion the following year to amend the Foreign Business Act spooked Japanese investors, many of whom have their Thailand operations structured in a way legislators aimed to ban.
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